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Breakthrough Covid Infections More Common Than People Think

Scott Gottlieb, Former FDA Commissioner

Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Anyone who received a Covid vaccine in the early stages of the rollout should sign up for their booster shots because “there are likely more infections among the vaccinated population” than the United States is currently monitoring, said Dr Scott Pfizer Board Member Gottlieb at CNBC’s Squawk Box. ” Monday.

There is evidence that the effectiveness of Covid vaccines declines over time, and Gottlieb said groundbreaking infections are likely to occur in people almost a year before they are fully immunized. But boosters offer an “almost immediate” effect of restoring the antibody protection offered by vaccines to their original levels, the former Food and Drug Administration commissioner noted.

“There are probably more infections among the vaccinated population, more spread in this population, the unboosted part of this population, than what we’re recording because we just don’t routinely track this,” Gottlieb said. “There will be retrospective studies that identify that, but we don’t do a good job of real-time tracking. And that’s the argument for people to go out and get callbacks.”

Gottlieb urged vaccinated Americans to get a boost before gathering for Thanksgiving, advising those who receive an extra dose in the days ahead could still “have a lot more protection” in time for the holidays. He also called on parents to bring unvaccinated children for their injections before the holidays, adding that children gain better protection against Covid from their first dose than adults.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday cleared the way for all American adults inoculated with the two-dose Covid vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna to be boosted at least six months after receiving their second injection. The agency previously approved the boosters for anyone vaccinated Johnson & Johnson aged 18 and over, although they are eligible two months after receiving the single dose Covid vaccine.

Gottlieb’s comments come as the United States reports an increase in Covid cases after weeks of decline and a nearly three-week plateau that began in late October and saw cases stabilize between 70,000 and 75,000 per day. The country’s seven-day average of new cases reached nearly 92,400 on Sunday, up 16% from a week ago, according to a CNBC analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.

Covid cases also rose 6% globally as of the end of the week of November 14, the World Health Organization reported in its latest weekly epidemiological update. Europe recorded more than 2.1 million new cases during this week, representing some 64% of total cases worldwide, the WHO has measured.

Germany reported a seven-day average of more than 49,200 new cases on Sunday, an increase of nearly 31% from the previous week, Hopkins found. Pockets of inadequate vaccination rates and a previous level of infection lower than in the United States are helping fuel the surge of the highly transmissible delta variant in Germany, Gottlieb said.

“When you look at the total immunity of the German population, it’s probably lower than in the United States,” Gottlieb said. “I’m not saying we’re impervious to the spread here – we’ve certainly seen dense delta epidemics in specific parts of this country.”

“But I think that we are currently in a different situation than in Germany because we have suffered many previous waves of infection, and Germany has better controlled the infection in the previous waves,” he said. he continued. “Now the delta strain is getting out of hand over there.”

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called on the country’s 16 states to implement strict measures to control the spread by Wednesday, telling members of the Conservative Party that the current measures are insufficient. Germany has already restricted public life in areas where hospitals fill up.

Austria, Germany’s southern neighbor, imposed a full lockdown on Monday and is implementing a national vaccination mandate from February 1.

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